Friday, May 15, 2009

The Business Intelligence Chronicles Part 10 : What happens when Data driven BI meets BI Joe ?

One of the most interesting aspects of blogging is the interesting conversations one strikes up with a wide variety of people.

The latest interaction I am engaged in is with Ken Allard, military strategist turned BI guru. Not your classical textbook BI but BI with a twist. His worldview of BI takes it beyond "tactical information harvested from IT and DW" to "war gaming and simulations".

My perspective is that Yes, war gaming and simulation could be useful additions to the world of BI. The catch with war gaming is that there may be a perception that the technique has not been able to project the trajectory and outcome of recent conflicts. Well, that may be less a result of ineffectiveness of war gaming as a tool/technique and more so because of incorrect scenario formulation/projections or failure to implement the results of war games into the real life battlefield.

Corporates can "war game" new product launches, emergence of new competitors, delays in new product development etc.

Ken takes the concept even further. Based on his military experience he finds that the real value of war-gaming is not the precise prediction of events, which rarely turn out as expected - Murphy's Law governing almost everything. Rather, it is in the minds of the commanders who are steeped in the variables (What can go wrong?) and learn what they need to do to react effectively enough to accomplish their mission (usually expressed as the commander's intent).

There seems to be nothing comparable in business today where the leadership seems to focus obsessively on smaller issues - usually short-term financials.

His view of war gaming in the BI context takes it beyond single events like product launches, (though he acknowledges those too can be important forward steps) into the realm of entrepreneurial strategic planning that focuses three or four years out and applies that rigor to basic corporate decision-making.

Interesting indeed.

Ken tells me he is appearing on the Huckabee Show on Fox News Channel this weekend (Sat and Sun night). Worth checking out....

Hot off the press (May 18) : Got a note from Ken. He never got to BIzWars (BI and War Gaming/Simulation) on The Huckabee Show. They got caught in the quagmire of discussing his run in with the NYT regarding their article about Pentagon's influence on war reporting. Watch

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